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With Shortbread Crust, it’s like you are eating a cookie and a pie at the same time. Shortbread crust is buttery, dense-yet-crumbly, sweet (but not too sweet!), and is the best crust recipe for any tart.

golden shortbread pie crust for lemon tart

If you are intimidated by homemade crust, start with this shortbread crust. 

This is the easiest pie crust there is to make!

Whereas flaky, pastry-style crusts like Whole Wheat Pie Crust take some time to master, shortbread crust is a cinch.

Can you make cookies? You can make shortbread pie crust!

Shortbread crust is simple to prepare, and is made of what all baked goods should: butter, flour, powdered sugar, and vanilla, with a little water and a pinch of salt.

shortbread pie crust

What to Make with Shortbread Crust

Shortbread crust is a great starter for so many desserts and flavors.

From chocolate to fruit, you can fill a shortbread crust with any of your favorite pie fillings (my choice: Cherry Pie Filing). You really can’t go wrong.

How to Make Easy Shortbread Crust

Unlike traditional pie crusts, shortbread crust requires no fiddling with pastry cutters, pie weights, or parchment paper.

The process for shortbread crust couldn’t be easier.

  • Stir everything together (no need to bust out the food processor!)
  • Press the crust dough into a pie dish
  • Bake! That’s all it takes.

It’s ready in under 30 minutes total time.


The Ingredients

  • Butter. What makes this shortbread is plenty of the good stuff.
  • Powdered Sugar. Use confectioners’ sugar over granulated to keep it so soft.
  • Flour. I like to swap in a portion of whole wheat flour for some of the all-purpose flour for adding a little nutrition to my desserts. It’s an undetectable difference that adds in some protein and fiber. You can use entirely all-purpose flour if you prefer.
  • Salt. Kosher salt balances the sweetness.
  • Vanilla. Pure vanilla is the holy grail of any baked good.
  • Water. A tablespoon of water makes the shortbread crust the proper consistency.
  • Lemon Zest. Optional, but adds a delightful brightness.

The Directions

ingredients in large bowl for shortbread crust
  1. Combine all the crust ingredients in an eclectic stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment (or use a large mixing bowl and spatula).
shortbread crust dough in large mixing bowl
  1. Mix until a dry cookie-dough-like mixture forms.
pressing shortbread crust into pie pan
  1. Press shortbread crust dough evenly along the bottom and up the sides of the tart pan and trim any overhanging excess.
shortbread crust in pie pan
  1. Prick the dough all over with the tines of a fork. Freeze the crust for 15 minutes. Bake shortbread crust at 350 degrees F for 18 to 20 minutes, until golden. Let cool completely on a wire rack, then use as desired. ENJOY!

Storage Tips

  • To Store: Shortbread pie crust can be stored at room temperature. Wrap tightly with plastic wrap to ensure it does not dry out.
  • To Freeze: You can freeze shortbread dough before baking it or after baking it. Tightly wrap, and freeze for up to 3 months. Before using, let thaw overnight in the refrigerator.

Recommended Tools to Make this Recipe

If you’re going to expend the effort to make a homemade dessert, let’s take just one more step and skip the store bought crust.

In this case, making the crust yourself is EASY and well worth it.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Shortbread Pastry the Same as Shortbread?

Shortbread cookies are slightly different from shortbread pastry. Shortbread cookie dough has the highest ratio of butter to flour of other cookie doughs, so it is nice and buttery like shortbread crust; however, shortbread cookies have more sugar in them than shortbread crust so they can be a standalone dessert. Neither has eggs or egg yolks, so the dough does not get too wet.

What is the Difference Between Shortbread and Pie Crust?

Shortbread has a higher ratio of butter to flour, making it denser and more crumbly than pie pastry dough. Pie crust is light and flaky. Pie crust requires cutting in chilled butter and then rolling out the dough, and longer chilling time than shortbread crust.

Should Shortbread be Crunchy or Soft?

Shortbread has a tender, melt-in-your-mouth texture, while being slightly crisp when you bite into it. Think of it like a perfect cookie, but bigger.

What’s the Trick to Shortbread?

Use room temperature butter. Traditional pie crusts have you use ice cold butter, but that is not the case for shortbread. Additionally, pay attention to how long you are mixing it. When the dough is pressed together with your fingers, it should hold together, but will look like a dry cookie dough.

Shortbread Crust

4.58 from 7 votes
Easy shortbread crust melts in your mouth. It's like the best shortbread cookie, in pie or tart form. Choose your filling!

Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 20 minutes
Total: 23 minutes

Servings: 12 servings (1 9-inch tart crust)

Ingredients
  


Instructions
 

  • Coat a 9-inch round tart pan with a removable bottom with nonstick spray.
  • In a bowl of a standing mixer fitted with a paddle attachment or in a large mixing bowl with a rubber spatula (or wooden spoon), combine all the crust ingredients: the butter, all-purpose flour, white whole wheat flour, powdered sugar, salt, vanilla, water, and lemon zest (if using). Mix until a somewhat dry looking cookie-dough-like mixture forms; when pressed together with your fingers, it should hold together. Press evenly along the bottom and up the sides of the prepared tart pan. Trim off any excess dough that overhangs the pan. Prick the dough all over with the tines of a fork.
  • Freeze the crust for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees F. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes, until golden. Let cool completely, then use as desired.

Notes

  • TO STORE: Shortbread pie crust can be stored at room temperature. Wrap tightly with plastic wrap to ensure it does not dry out.
  • TO FREEZE: You can freeze shortbread dough before baking it or after baking it. Tightly wrap and keep in freezer for up to 3 months. Before using, let thaw overnight in the refrigerator.

Nutrition

Serving: 1sliceCalories: 109kcalCarbohydrates: 13gProtein: 2gFat: 6gSaturated Fat: 4gPolyunsaturated Fat: 0.2gMonounsaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0.2gCholesterol: 15mgPotassium: 16mgFiber: 1gSugar: 3gVitamin A: 175IUCalcium: 6mgIron: 0.5mg

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Erin Clarke

Hi, I'm Erin Clarke, and I'm fearlessly dedicated to making healthy food that's affordable, easy-to-make, and best of all DELISH. I'm the author and recipe developer here at wellplated.com and of The Well Plated Cookbook. I adore both sweets and veggies, and I am on a mission to save you time and dishes. WELCOME!

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  1. It is a great crust and for a beginner in pies this is a full proof to go to pie crust. Thanks for sharing5 stars